15 Books Recommended By Barack Obama

Barack Obama's favourite books reveal his diverse reading tastes, from stories to insightful topics. These 15 recommended books underscore how literature broadens our understanding and enriches our perspective on the world.
15 Books Recommended By Barack Obama

15 Books Recommended By Barack Obama (Image Credit: Instagram)

In the world of books, few recommendations hold as much importance as those from former President of the United States, Barack Obama. With his unique taste, Obama has consistently shared his favourite reads, offering a peek into his literary choices. From autobiographies to fiction, Obama's 15 favourite books cover a wide range of genres, reflecting his love for reading. Let's explore these titles that have influenced one of the world's most influential leaders, offering valuable insights and inspiration to readers everywhere.

1. The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride

"The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store" by James McBride is an engaging story that explores family, identity, and community. It takes place in a lively neighbourhood in Brooklyn, New York, and follows the lives of the diverse characters who visit the local grocery store run by the Chen family, immigrants from China. As the store becomes a hub for people of different backgrounds, including African Americans, Jews, and Chinese immigrants, McBride skillfully tells their interconnected stories, touching on themes like love, acceptance, and the pursuit of dreams. With humour and insight, McBride vividly portrays city life and celebrates the strength of friendship and family bonds. This heartfelt tale lingers in the reader's mind long after the book is finished.

2. How To Say Babylon: A Memoir by Safiya Sinclair

"How to Say Babylon: A Memoir" by Safiya Sinclair takes readers on a personal journey through the author's life, touching on themes like identity, heritage, and belonging. Sinclair, known for her poetic talent, shares her story in a way that feels intimate and relatable. She talks about her childhood in Jamaica and her experiences as a Black woman living in America, addressing the complexities she faces. Through her vivid storytelling, Sinclair discusses her family's past, the impact of colonialism, and the struggle to balance different cultural backgrounds. With honesty and beautiful language, her memoir offers a heartfelt exploration of what it means to find oneself amidst diverse cultures and societal expectations.

3. The Wager by David Grann

"The Wager" by David Grann tells the fascinating story of Claude Shannon, a brilliant mathematician known as the father of information theory. Against the backdrop of the Cold War, Grann reveals Shannon's intriguing life and his hidden passion for roulette. As Shannon tries to crack the casino's odds, Grann explores the world of math and probability with engaging storytelling. Through thorough research, this book provides a captivating insight into Shannon's genius and his groundbreaking ideas that shaped modern technology.

4. Humanly Possible by Sarah Bakewell

"Humanly Possible" by Sarah Bakewell is a fascinating exploration of the philosopher Montaigne's life and ideas. Bakewell dives into Montaigne's philosophy of embracing life's uncertainties and complexities with curiosity and acceptance. With engaging storytelling and thorough research, she paints a vivid picture of Montaigne's intellectual journey and the relevance of his ideas even today. Bakewell's writing is witty and clear, making Montaigne's philosophy accessible to all. "Humanly Possible" is a thought-provoking book that reminds us of the lasting impact of philosophy in understanding life's complexities.

5. All The Sinners Bleed by S.A. Cosby

"All The Sinners Bleed" by S.A. Cosby is an exciting crime novel set in rural Virginia, filled with suspense and drama. The story revolves around Isaiah Coleridge, a former mob enforcer turned private investigator, who faces inner struggles. As he digs into the dark side of his hometown, he becomes entangled in a dangerous world of crime and deceit. With its gripping plot and deep themes of justice and morality, "All The Sinners Bleed" is a must-read for anyone who enjoys thrilling crime fiction.

6. The Best Minds by Jonathan Rosen

"The Best Minds" by Jonathan Rosen is an intriguing exploration of the history of Jewish thinkers and writers. Rosen dives into the lives and achievements of famous figures like Franz Kafka, Sigmund Freud, and Albert Einstein, shedding new light on their impact on literature, psychology, and science. With engaging storytelling and careful research, Rosen brings alive the fascinating connections between Jewish identity, creativity, and intellectual pursuits. From Vienna to New York City, the book takes readers on a journey across time and place, highlighting the lasting influence of Jewish thought and innovation. Rosen's book is a must-read for anyone curious about the rich history of Jewish intellectuals.

7. Some People Need Killing by Corey Wilson

"Some People Need Killing" by Corey Wilson is an exciting thriller that takes readers into the world of crime and justice. The story follows Jack Lawson, a former Marine who becomes a vigilante, seeking to punish those he believes deserve to die. With lots of action and suspense, Wilson tells a story about right and wrong, revenge, and the consequences of taking matters into your own hands. As Lawson faces danger and deception, readers will be hooked, eager to find out what happens next. With its thrilling plot and interesting characters, "Some People Need Killing" is a must-read for fans of crime fiction.

8. The Kingdom, The Power, and The Glory by Tim Alberta

"The Kingdom, The Power, and The Glory" by Tim Alberta is an interesting book that looks into how the Republican Party changed during Donald Trump's time as its leader. Alberta did a lot of research and talked to important people to give readers an inside view of what happened in American politics during Trump's presidency. From when Trump ran for president in 2016 to what happened after the 2020 election, Alberta talks about the struggles for power, fights over ideas, and compromises on morals that happened within the Republican Party because of Trump. With smart analysis and a good story, "The Kingdom, The Power, and The Glory" helps us understand how American politics changed during this time and what might happen to the Republican Party in the future.

9. The Maniac by Benjamin Labatut

"The Maniac" by Benjamin Labatut is an engaging novel that looks into the lives of some of history's brightest minds who also struggled with mental health issues. Through different stories, Labatut takes us into the world of scientists, mathematicians, and thinkers whose genius often came with challenges like mental illness. From Nikola Tesla to Alan Turing, Labatut gives us a fascinating peek into their minds, exploring how creativity, madness, and brilliance intersect. With beautiful writing and thorough research, "The Maniac" vividly shows us the complexities of being human, making us rethink our ideas about genius and mental health. It is a book that will leave you thinking long after you have finished reading, questioning the fine line between genius and madness.

10. Factfulness by Hans Rosling

"Factfulness" by Hans Rosling is an eye-opening book that changes the way we see the world by giving us a clearer and more positive view of global trends. Using interesting stories and facts, Rosling shows how our biases often make us misunderstand how the world really is. Drawing from his experience as a public health expert and statistician, Rosling talks about the progress we have made in reducing poverty and improving health, and education, while also mentioning the challenges we still face. With easy-to-understand writing and convincing points, "Factfulness" encourages us to look at the world with facts and optimism, helping us understand how we can make positive changes. It is a must-read for anyone who wants to know more about the world and how we can make it better.

11. Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje is an amazing book that takes readers to post-World War II London. Against a backdrop of spies and secrets, Ondaatje tells a story of family, betrayal, and strength. It follows Nathaniel and his sister Rachel as they try to make sense of their parents' sudden disappearance in the uncertain world of post-war England. Through beautiful writing and well-developed characters, Ondaatje explores important themes like identity and memory, showing how war can affect people and communities. As Nathaniel learns more about his parents, he discovers hidden truths that challenge his beliefs about truth and loyalty. "Warlight" is a memorable book that makes readers think about the human experience and the long-lasting impact of war.

12. Educated by Tara Westover

"Educated" by Tara Westover is a touching memoir that follows the author's journey from a childhood in rural Idaho, where she grew up with survivalist parents who did not believe in formal education, to achieving a PhD from Cambridge University. Westover's story is one of strength, self-discovery, and how education can change lives. As she breaks free from her family's beliefs and seeks knowledge beyond what she was taught, Westover faces questions about who she is, where she belongs, and what education really means. Through her detailed storytelling, she shares her challenges and successes, giving readers a personal look into the complexities of family, faith, and learning. "Educated" is an inspiring memoir that makes us think about the importance of education and how it can open doors to new possibilities in life.

13. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

"Gilead" by Marilynne Robinson is a touching novel that introduces us to John Ames, an elderly pastor living in the small town of Gilead, Iowa. Written as a letter to his young son, the book reflects on important aspects like faith, family, and the passing of time. Ames shares his thoughts and experiences as he faces his own mortality and ponders the impact he will have on others. Through Robinson's beautiful writing and deep insights, "Gilead" explores themes of forgiveness, redemption, and the complexities of human connections. It is a heartfelt and thought-provoking novel that leaves a lasting impression on readers even after they finish reading.

14. Moby Dick by Herman Melville

"Moby Dick" by Herman Melville is a classic story that takes readers on a thrilling adventure with Captain Ahab and his crew aboard the ship Pequod. They set sail to hunt the legendary white whale, Moby Dick, leading to a journey filled with danger and excitement. Along the way, the book talks about important ideas like obsession, revenge, and what it means to be human. Melville's detailed writing and deep symbolism make the story rich and engaging, exploring both the vast ocean and the depths of human emotions. With its memorable characters and thought-provoking themes, "Moby Dick" remains a beloved book that teaches us about life's complexities and the mysteries of the world.

15. Song Of Soloman by Toni Morrison

"Song of Solomon" by Toni Morrison is an engaging story about Macon "Milkman" Dead III, a young African American man trying to figure out who he is and where he belongs. Set in Michigan, the book explores themes like family, heritage, and finding oneself as Milkman sets out to uncover his family's past. Through Morrison's beautiful writing and well-developed characters, the novel talks about the challenges of race, class, and gender in America. As Milkman learns about his ancestors' struggles, he faces the difficult truth about the discrimination and violence they endured. "Song of Solomon" is a moving and thought-provoking book that makes us think about what it means to be free and to find our place in the world.
Attendee panel closed
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